Yesterday (13 April 2016) Members of Parliament debated the value of golf to the UK economy in the House of Commons.
The Adjournment Debate was applied for by Lincoln MP and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, Karl McCartney. Sports Minister, David Evennett responded to the points raised in the debate on behalf of the Government.
The debate followed an independent report commissioned by The R&A and published by Sheffield Hallam University last month, which found that golf’s gross value added to the UK economy is £2 billion. After accounting for indirect and induced economic impact effects, the report also estimated the turnover of the UK golf industry at £10.3 billion for 2014.
Speaking in the debate, McCartney said “I am aware that the Government in its Sporting Future strategy has set five priorities, one of which is economic development. It is clear that golf makes a vast contribution to our economy, much of which is unheralded and unsung thus far. I trust this Debate will go some way in promulgating the good news.”
“Of course, it is not just about jobs and money, vital as these are. With golf being the fifth largest sport in the UK in terms of participation, the health benefits are clear for the many who take part. This great sport sport is for all ages and we want to encourage young girls and boys to try the game, whatever their background and where they live, and to continue to play throughout their lives with their friends and families. Who knows, it may not be a further twenty years before we see another British winner of the US Masters.”
Responding to the points raised in the debate on behalf of the Government, David Evennett said “I am delighted to highlight the valuable contribution that golf makes to this country, enriching the lives and wellbeing of those who participate and work in the sector, and contributing to the economic health of the nation. Tonight’s debate has been a welcome addition to the promotion of golf, encouraging participation and highlighting the work being done by so many excellent groups and organisations.”
“Sport matters. It matters to this Government, to this House and to this country. Golf can play an important part in the Government’s new sports strategy, which aims to encourage a more active and participatory nation.”
Members, including Vice-Chairmen Stephen Gethins and Jason McCartney, raised points on golf tourism and the value of golf in rural areas, participation in golf for people of all ages, and the value of golf to small businesses throughout the UK. Dr Philippa Whitford spoke of The Open visiting her constituency of Central Ayrshire.